With the arrival of the new year comes the arrival of a slew of new laws that go into effect for residents of California. Among them, one that could provide some relief for cash-strapped renters throughout the state.
On January 1, California will place limits on how much landlords can raise rents on tenants each year. Specifically, the law caps rent increases at 5 percent plus inflation during a single year. In San Diego, that amounts to approximately 7 to 7.5 percent.
“That means if your rent was $1,000 and over the course of last year your landlord raised it to $1,500 or $2,000 then on January 1st your rent is going to go back down to around $1,075,” says Christian Curry, attorney for the Tenants Legal Center.
The cap on rent increases comes as over half of renters in California pay more than 30 percent of their wages for housing, according to recent census figures. The law also comes as California sees a spike in homelessness.
Curry says beginning on January 1, renters who live in apartments that are more than 15 years old whose rent was raised last year can contact their landlord with the following message.
“Those renters can tell their landlord that their rent was this amount yesterday but today it’s this amount. I imagine their landlord is going to be fairly unhappy about the call, but that’s the law,” said Curry.
And if landlords look to hand out eviction notices in hopes of avoiding the decrease in rent, the law offers protection which prohibits landlords from evicting tenants who have lived on the property for more than a year and do not have any cause for eviction.